It seems like players in the solar industry are going to face another earnings season where their profits could tank big time. JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS ) -- one of the few companies that has shined in an otherwise drab performance by the industry earlier this year -- came up with discouraging results for the third quarter as declining prices of solar products continue to throttle margins.
Let's take a look at how JinkoSolar did and what lies ahead.
JinkoSolar saw its revenues shoot up some 24% to $279 million from the year-ago period on the back of a 91% jump in shipments from last year. But if we look at the sequential change, shipments show a marginal decline, and revenues slumped 21%.
The softness -- which was triggered by subsidy cuts in the European market, the largest buyer of solar products -- led to an oversupply in the market as customers cut down on demand. This, in turn, has led to significant price declines and piling up of inventories as solar companies find it difficult to push out their products. All these factors led to a jaw-dropping 72% decline in net income for JinkoSolar.
Signs are not encouraging, as JinkoSolar has slashed its shipment forecast for the full year by a significant 20%.
Not really. Weak demand and a fall in the average selling prices of solar products have led companies in this space to cut down on shipment and revenue forecasts. The situation is such that Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL ) , another star performer in the second quarter, ended up with a quarterly loss of $31 million from a profit of $83 million the same time a year ago.
Although polysilicon prices haven't gone down as much, solar cell prices were down 60% this year. Solar leaders like First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR ) and Suntech Power (NYSE: STP ) aren't too optimistic about the industry's revival, either, if their downgraded forecasts can be taken as a benchmark of things to come.
The Foolish bottom line
With the plethora of challenges that the industry faces, it seems like the going will be difficult for the solar players. In the second quarter, the Chinese companies had done considerably well, but even they are now hanging by a thread and sliding toward losses. The exact degree of damage the industry may suffer will be clearer after the others come up with their earnings, but whispers suggest that even they are staring at humongous losses.
Click here to add JinkoSolar to your Foolish watchlist and stay tuned on the latest news as The Motley Fool takes you through the industry's earnings.